Some epiphanies…

Sometimes, I focus too narrowly and it takes a few weeks of hitting my head on the wall before I notice there’s a door. Yeah. I’m like that more often than I like to admit.

The ‘Eureka!’ moment came over the fourth of July weekend when a friend of mine was talking about her business. She’s a folk singer and songwriter (with a successful day job career) who does periodic tours through the US with the expectations of simply making expenses equal profit and calling it a day. In our last visit (she’s not local) I mentioned some of the things that I was studying and mused idly about her needing to really update her media outreach.

Over the weekend, she brought up my past suggestion again, and started thinking about ways to possibly change her business model to utilize the online spaces. I was in a slightly altered state of mind (mmmm…. mojitos….) and I found myself talking with her about lots of different options. I started with low hanging fruit (like… hello… you have a recording studio in your house… start podcasting and selling via iTunes and other music services) and worked into her new dreams of providing arrangement services, then built in some tie-ins to local recording businesses who could actually provide the sound engineering and remixing, and told her which kind of a web hosting service she should be looking for, etc. etc. etc

Long way between Consultant and Sultan

Suddenly, it hits me. I’m being trained to be a consultant. And part of the major agita in my life right now is that I’ve slipped back into the same, comfortable business arena I came from. The Advertising life is its own creature, and I have to admit that I enjoy the freedom to come into work in jeans more days than not. I like the fact that I don’t have to shave every day, or even every other day, and that folks at work often bring in their dogs to the office. Work hard/Play hard is the philosophy in every agency I’ve had the fortune to work in. Hell, where I currently work we have a bar with three types of (client) beer on tap that we may drink responsibly from every day after 5:30pm.

But I have to admit… approaching 37 next month, I’m not quite so enamored of doing anything *hard*, be it working OR playing. I’ve come to appreciate that whole ‘moderation’ thing that my elders were always belaboring during my life until now. (Everything in moderation, including moderation.)  The hardest thing about being back in the Advertising world, let’s face it, is that I’m back in the Advertising world.

Onwards up the food chain

Perhaps that means that it’s high time to leave the Advertising world. Oh, it’ll serve a good end and purpose to help get me through the last semester of grad school. But after graduation… well, it might just be time to actually consider joining a Marketing or Communications department on the Client side of the equation. In advertising parlance, it’s time to drink the Kool Aid.

I realize that I can leverage 13 years of experience within the Advertising world, as well as bring all of the business and communications skills to bear within the interactive arena. I’ve got the ability to provide marketing strategy for approaching the interactive realms. I know just what kind of information folks in the ad agencies need in order to produce something interactive, and if I’m involved on the Client side then I can (ideally) collect everyone’s thoughts, shape the vision, and collect all of the details which allows an interactive agency to give accurate quotes and generate accurate scopes of work.

Extrapolation into the Final Project

What that really means for me now is that I have some sense of where I want to aim for after graduation in December. If I’m going to try and work for a Client, it means that my final Capstone project is going to need to establish me a bit more firmly in the marketing arena than in any sort of neat political agenda, or interactive-based social commentary.  Ideally I’m going to need to generate a website which bridges the (quite considerable) gap between practice and theory.

I’m thinking of homing in on an aspect of Integrated Marketing. I’ve got the benefit of having already done a preliminary literature review on it for Halavais’s class last semester. I should be able to find some aspect of it  in theory and do a study of how it bears up in application. Muddy waters, trying to cross from academic to trade publication materials, but if I use the structure of the capstone project that we learned from Rich Hanley’s class, I can break the larger issues into bite-sized chunks.

Then the only outstanding concern becomes the coding necessary, but if I make the focus the subject matter, then static pages themselves won’t be all that bad. Focusing on simple designs and executions and then doing them excellently can often create a better overall experience than aiming for complicated and failing to execute with superior craftsmanship.

Something tells me that case studies are going to become my friends.

I feel rather relieved, though. I feel like the capstone project, at least, is beginning to shape up. And I feel like there’s a sense of direction beyond it. A method to the madness is beginning to emerge.

Now I can start to use the rest of my summer in order to gather some research materials and start working out a base prospectus. And decide on an advisor to work the base prospectus into an actual prospectus with.


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